As we complete our first year working with the Home to Texas (H2TX) program, we find ourselves reflecting on what leadership looks like. We chatted with several program alumni at a recent H2TX reunion, and it’s clear that leadership has manifested itself in various ways for our students.

Campus Involvement

It warms our hearts to see students taking the confidence and skills gained from their H2TX summer and putting them to use on campus. For example, all four of the H2TX students who interned in Tyler, Texas last summer (and a couple from Amarillo) participated in The IC2 Institute’s George Kozmetsky Student Challenge, in which students research and present solutions related to the needs of small or remote communities…an extension of the H2TX experience in a way. Additionally, Fernando Fuentes’s H2TX internship with Del Rio’s Texas Community Bank helped him to narrow his academic focus from general business to finance. After the H2TX reunion, Fernando headed to a meeting with UT’s Longhorn Racing organization, where he works as a treasury analyst. It was great to see him putting his finance prowess to use through a new leadership role. Collaboration, interpersonal skills, synthesis and perspective…we continue to see students using and refining the traits written about in this series’ intro blog.

Professional Experience

One of the reasons for having students participate in H2TX after their first year at UT is to give them an early professional foundation that will lead to future opportunities throughout their UT experience. We’ve heard stories of that happening already. Students like Deya Hernandez and Michelle Covarrubias stood out so much at their H2TX internships that their employers offered to pay them for two additional weeks of work after the program ended.  Other students like Kassandra Portillo were able to leverage the relationships they made at their H2TX internship to get an internship in Austin (Kassandra’s current internship is at the Texas Capitol). While working at her H2TX internship at the Odessa Marriott this past summer, Sydney Anglin made a connection that led to her being offered an internship for next summer that aligns with her civil engineering major. This particular internship role is rare for someone to receive after only two years at the University of Texas. These stories exhibit how H2TX alumni have enhanced their employability by completing the program.


Throughout this blog series, our students demonstrate positive growth stemming from their H2TX experience. In the examples above, you can see how the program propels our curious and confident students toward continued involvement. We consider our alumni to be leaders as they pursue opportunities to make an impact. We’re excited to stay in touch with our alumni and to hear more about how they are making a difference on campus, in Austin, and within their hometowns. The sky’s the limit for this talented group.

Click here for more information on the Home to Texas program or how to support future leaders in communities across Texas.